Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SPICE in Texas gets U.S. out of chess backwater

SANDS: SPICE in Texas gets U.S. out of chess backwater
By David R. Sands
The Washington Times

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Link

We can claim the Super Bowl, the World Series and three of golf’s four “majors,” and we have played host to eight Olympics. But when it comes to staging big-time chess events, the U.S. is something of a backwater.

The 1995 Kasparov-Anand match at New York's World Trade Center was the first world championship played on American soil in 88 years. The most storied U.S. tournaments - Cambridge Springs 1904, New York 1924, New York 1927, Santa Monica 1966 - occurred decades ago. On the topographical chess atlas of the world, obscure burgs such as Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands; Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia; and Linares, Spain, tower over New York and Los Angeles.

So for patriotic reasons if nothing else, it’s nice to report on the fifth annual SPICE Cup, staged last month in Lubbock, Texas, by Texas Tech University and the Susan Polgar Foundation. The strongest of the three round-robin invitationals there had an average rating of 2656 and docked in as a Category 17 event.

In the hard-fought Group A event, rising Vietnamese star GM Le Quang Liem justified his 2710 top rating by eking out a victory over Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez Perez and German GM Georg Meier. Israeli GM Anatoly Bykhovsky and Italian IMRoberto Mogranzini shared top honors in Group B, and popular U.S. GM Ben Finegold finished alone in first in Group C.

Liem needed a last-round victory over Dominguez Perez, who beat him in the first half of the tournament, to secure first place. He pulled it off - just barely.

Full article here.

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